10 Genius Small Business Marketing Tips we can Learn From Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is known for many things. In addition to being a near-mythical king of efficiency, he’s a multi-time NYT bestselling author and prominent silicon valley investor.
In fact, Ferriss has several “unicorn successes” under his belt, including Facebook, Evernote, Twitter, Uber, and Shopify. He’s also a mass experimenter who keeps his blood and urine in his fridge.
Beyond those things, however, he’s a genius marketer, and that’s where we are accessing him today.
10 Small Business Marketing Tips – Tim Ferriss Style
While Tim Ferriss doesn’t quite fall into the “small business” category at his current point in life, he got where he is today by knowing how to build small businesses from the ground up. With that in mind, here are ten small business marketing tips you can learn from Mr. Ferriss himself.
1. Speak directly to your audience
With more than 60 million downloads, Ferriss’s podcast, The Tim Ferris Experience, is one of the most popular on iTunes. As if that weren’t enough, Ferriss also has millions of monthly readers on his blog. Not only are these followers numerous – they’re also dedicated. In fact, his supporters will do virtually whatever he tells them to do – from starting an IRA with WealthFront to trying out the Ketogenic diet, it’s a near cult mentality that has made him one of the primary self-help gurus in the world. In fact, books often sell out on Amazon immediately after he recommends them to his audience on his podcast.
But how does he do this, is the question? You can bet it’s not an accident.
While Ferriss is a powerhouse on dozens of fronts, what he truly excels at is speaking directly to his audience. When you look into his content, it’s clear that there is no grappling, no reaching, no wondering who his target is. He knows exactly who his audience is, and he never fails to appeal to them.
2. Get granular as often as possible in your content
One of the things that makes Ferriss so astounding is the level of detail he offers his readers. All you need to observe this is take a look at his content.
Each and every piece of content Ferriss authors is granular. It’s filled with links, so readers can find the source of every single thing Ferriss writes about. It provides actionable tips, specific tactics, in-depth discussions. In fact, that’s what the entire podcast it built on: the exact habits and strategies of top performers. And Ferriss’s audience (which he knows intimately) eats it up.
While B2B marketers often don’t believe they need this type of granularity in their content, it can mean the difference between content that is legitimately helpful, and content that misses the mark for its readers.
3. Publish content on a regular basis
One of the reasons that Ferriss has such a massive and devoted following is that he’s intensely reliable. His podcast comes out several times a week (and occasionally more often than that). His content is broad and far reaching – just check out his list of blog topics:
While building a following relies on putting out excellent content, it also relies on publishing content on a regular basis. Ferriss does this exceedingly well, and it’s one of the main reasons he’s become such a world-class performer himself.
4. Create more long-form content
While Ferriss occasionally records what he calls an “In-Between-isode” (20-45 minutes in length) on his podcast, most of his interviews are 1.5-3 hours long. What’s more, his blog posts are thousands of words in length and his books.
Can’t you get the same thing done with short-form content, you ask?
The answer is no.
What Ferriss specializes in is digging deep. He doesn’t want to scratch the surface with his guests, and his audience doesn’t want that either. By posting long-form content, he caters to his fans’ need for knowledge and provides some of the best information out there.
5. Connect with people who can offer value to your readers
Tim Ferriss has said multiple times that his podcasts are now more valuable than his publishing career. One possible reason for this is value. While his books provide a series of actionable tips that readers can use to enhance and improve their lives, his podcasts rely on connecting with people who can provide value for his audience.
Regardless of whether the people he’s interviewing are top-performing athletes, startup investors (like Chris Sacca, below), or authors, Ferris does an incredible job of ensuring that everyone he brings onto the show has something unique to offer his listeners.
By keeping this commitment to value at the forefront of his podcast empire, Ferriss has managed to build a massively successful and valuable business.
6. Include high-quality CTAs in all of your content
Many small business owners who are just getting started with content hesitate to add CTAs. Either they feel like a CTA is spammy, or they’re just not sure how to write them or where to place them. All of these things are understandable.
Unfortunately, forgetting the CTA can spell disaster for your conversion rates.
CTAs (calls to action) serve a few important purposes. First, they tell your audience exactly what to do next. While many small business owners assume the audience will just inherently know what to do without the help of a CTA, this simply isn’t true. CTAs direct the audience, and people who like your content are often more than willing to take the step the CTA recommends.
For example, take a look at the CTA at the bottom of one of Ferriss’s recent blog posts, “My Evening Routine for Optimal Relaxation and Sleep:”
The CTA, a request that users share their nighttime rituals in the comments, is simple enough, but it yields incredible effect. On this blog alone, Ferris has earned 49 comments at the time of this writing, many of which provide unique, user-to-user detail about, you guessed it, nighttime rituals:
With that in mind, invest the time it takes to learn to write quality CTAs for your content. In addition to helping direct your readers in the right direction, quality CTAs can also boost your conversion rate and make your content more conversational.
7. Learn to be flexible and experimental with your marketing
While keeping vials of your own blood and urine in the refrigerator is a bit too extreme for most people, including me, small business owners can learn a lesson from his penchant for experimentation. Even if you don’t want to experiment with things like ketosis or cold therapy, you can experiment with your marketing.
One thing that has made Ferris such a standout in the world of digital content is that he’s never been afraid to buck the status quo and begin experimenting with his content. His podcast, for example, started as a six-episode experiment Ferris ran to determine whether learning to interview could help him eliminate verbal ticks and ask better questions. Now, the podcast has run for more than 150 episodes and has featured such heavy-hitters as Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwartzeneger as guests.
Case in point? Experiment with your marketing. Run A/B tests. Try out new content formats. Explore new topics. While running a successful small business requires a special level of skill, it’s also a somewhat hit and miss game, and you may never know what works until you stumble upon it while you’re looking for something else.
8. Learn about the products, goods, and services that make life in your industry easier
One of Ferriss’s recent projects has been a weekly email titled 5 Bullet Friday. Here’s a screenshot of one of most recent “issues:”
In this little email, Ferriss often recommends products he’s been “experimenting” with, and these products often sell out in the hours after he mentions them.
While part of this is due to Ferriss’s massive following, a decent part of it is also because people are hungry for actionability, and giving them access to gadgets they didn’t know about, but which can streamline their lives, is a wonderful gift.
With this in mind, get familiar with the tools, software, and platforms in your industry that can make life easier for your users. For example, if you sell health insurance, is there a simple, super-accurate insurance calculator out there they can use? Finding and popularizing useful tools is one of the best possible ways to provide value. It’s also an excellent way to, like Ferriss has, build an immensely dedicated following.
9. Don’t be afraid to talk about your mistakes
If you have skill, a good product, and a reasonable number of resources, the only thing that truly separates you from other small businesses in your industry is content. In many cases, the relatability of your content is directly related to the amount of traffic and attention you receive. With this in mind, you want your content to be as engaging, funny and, yes, raw as possible.
Ferriss does this incredibly well.
While many of his followers now regard him as an idol in the world of digital marketing, he wasn’t always this way.
Need an example? Check out what I’ll call the “Ferriss Failure Graphic,” published on TheHustle.com:
While these failures make Ferriss seem more approachable, they also serve the incredibly critical purpose of helping Ferriss’s followers understand that even idols have clay feet. Everyone fails sometimes, and the best thing you can do is learn from it and move forward as quickly as possible.
Ferriss makes this concept accessible to his audience and comes off as trustworthy and reliable as a result.
10. Be yourself
When it comes to marketing copy, so many small business owners feel pressure to be…marketers. “Buy this now!” “Get yours today!” etc., etc. Unfortunately, this bit has been done, and it’s not truly what modern readers want. Becuase of this, it’s essential, now more than ever, to simply be yourself in your online content.
This is as true for your web pages as it is for your blogs. While professionalism is never negotiable, the term is much stretchier today than it was during the 1950s, and today’s “professionalism” has as much room for the snarky copy of Poo-Pourri as it does Forbes. For Fortune 500 companies to Ferriss.
With this in mind, don’t hesitate to let your personal voice show through your marketing copy. As Ferriss has demonstrated so often in his content, it works, and your audience will thank you for it.
Iconic Marketing Made Easy for Small Businesses
The climate of marketing has changed in recent years, and, today, the biggest figures of the industry look different than they used to. Tim Ferriss stands out as one of these titans, and small business owners can learn a lot from these ten critical Tim Ferriss marketing tactics.